Apple Ethical Dilemma
Apple Ethical Dilemma
The case surrounds Apple’s utilization of cheap labor and the working conditions in the facilities utilized in Apple products’ production. Apple has been criticized for the working conditions and treatment of workers involved in the manufacture and assembly of Apple products in China. Apple’s production contractors, such as Foxconn, are based in China; the manufacturing facilities are located. The contractors provide cheap labor for Apple which minimizes the company’s production costs. The facilities’ poor working conditions have evoked criticism about Apple’s commitment to the pprotectingers’ rights and fair treatment of workers (Murdock, 2018). Therefore, Apple is in an ethical dilemma about continuing the partnerships with the contractors who violate labor and human rights.
The stakeholders in the case are Apple’s investors, the company’s management, workers across Apple’s supply chain, and Apple’s customers. Apple must achieve profits for investors. The company’s management has an obligation of upholding ethical regulations and legal provisions related to labor laws (Lu, 2020). Apple should provide safe and stress-free work environments for workers across its supply chain. The company is obligated to provide fair, humane, and conducive work conditions to workers. Finally, Apple must offer quality products to its customers.
In this case, Apple’s ethical dilemma arises due to the clash between its values and those of its manufacturing contractors based in China. Apple has consistently declared that the company is committed to human rights. Apple has stated that one of the company’s core values is providing a safe work environment for its workforce across the world. Conflict emerges in this case because Apple’s contractors have failed to adhere to the company’s values. The contractors violate human rights and labor laws and have failed to provide a safe work environment for employees manufacturing Apple products (Murdock, 2018). Although the employees work for the contractors and not Apple, they have a responsibility since they make Apple products. The case is an issue of ethics because there is a violation of beneficence principles, which compels individuals or organizations to avoid causing harm or minimize the harm caused to people. Therefore, the situation became a matter of ethics when it was revealed that the workers making Apple products are exposed to harmful and stressful work conditions.
In this case, the right thing for Apple to do is to terminate the partnerships with the manufacturing contractors who violate labor laws and humans rights in their facilities. Apple has not decided to do the right thing because it has yet to cut ties with the contractors (Lu, 2020). The company will face difficulties solving the dilemma because the company faces the challenge of effecting changes to its Chinese contractors’ practices. Another difficulty for Apple is that terminating the contractors’ partnerships will ground the production processes and lead to heavy losses for the company. Changing contractors is also difficult because it will lead to increased operating costs for Apple due to labor costs.
Apple has a moral obligation to stakeholders to adhere to the highest standards of integrity across its operations. The company has an obligation of upholding the well-being and safety of all people who create or use Apple products in any way. The company can demonstrate that it is socially responsive and responsible by ensuring that the contractors uphold human rights and provide conducive and stress-free workplaces for workers making Apple products. Apple’s corporate social responsibility emphasizes its devotion to the highest standards of social responsibility across its supply chain (Ceil, 2018). In this case, the company has failed to demonstrate this corporate social responsibility since some of its supply chain workers are exposed to unsafe and undignified work conditions. In this situation, the company can achieve a corporate social responsibility idea by enforcing and requiring contractors to uphold its supply chain’s highest standards.
According to Lim & Greenwood. (2017), the company applied the four principles of the supply conduct to justify Apple’s actions in controlling the ethical dilemma. For instance, the Apple company ensured social stability by providing a safe and stress-free environment for its workers. This was achieved by considering the overall labor principles whereby the workers were provided with working conditions that meet the international labor organization requirements. This encompasses the declaration of global human rights. Besides, forced labor was eradicated by deterring the labor organization from benefiting from forced labor. The workers were freed whereby requirements of lodging deposits were omitted, and this allowed them to terminate contracts after reasonable notice. Overall, the Apple company prevented child labor by raising standards for the labor providing company. The company was required to only give jobs to qualified personnel whose age fit the requirements. Besides, the company ensured that all the wages and remunerations paid to meet the national legal standards. Any deductions were omitted, including all the monetary fines. Hence the most dominant principle, in this case, was that of employee’s needs.
In this ethical dilemma, the company had a responsibility and responsiveness to regulate the problem. It was the company’s mandate to come up with the ethical framework, which would help curb the issue completely. First, the company had the duty to determine the ethical dimensions that were involved in this issue. Also, it had to single out the vital stakeholders and decide how the company’s final decision would affect the stakeholders (Lu, 2020). Additionally, the company was responsible for determining the choices and differentiating the ethical and unethical responses. Finally, the company had the mandate to determine the best ethical response and implement it.
Ceil, C. (2018). Corporate Social Responsibility at Apple. Available at SSRN 3520429. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3520429
Lu, E. (2020). Review: Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and the Lives of China’s Workers. Labor Notes. https://www.labornotes.org/blogs/2020/09/review-dying-iphone-apple-foxconn-and-lives-chinas-workers
Lim, J. S., & Greenwood, C. A. (2017). Communicating corporate social responsibility (CSR): Stakeholder responsiveness and engagement strategy to achieve CSR goals. Public Relations Review, 43(4), 768-776.
Murdock, J. (2018). Apple: Human Rights Violations in Supply Chain Double in a Year, Report Reveals. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/apple-human-rights-violations-supply-chain-double-year-reports-reveals-836247
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